Apple Acquires U.K. Startup That Uses AI to Improve Image Quality

iPhone 11 Pro Max Cameras

Apple has acquired a U.K. startup Spectral Edge that develops technology to improve smartphone camera performance using AI. It is unclear as to how much money Apple has paid for the U.K. startup.

Spectral Edge uses AI to make photos taken from smartphones sharper and more color accurate. It achieves this by combining an infrared shot with a standard photo.

Apple has not publicly disclosed that it has acquired Spectral Edge. This was revealed by the filings made public in the U.K. this week which showed Apple’s corporate lawyer Peter Denwood as the director of the startup, while all other board members and advisers were terminated.

Apple is known to acquire startups from time to time. The immediate benefit of such acquisitions is not clear but Apple ends up incorporating the technology acquired in its products down the line. Earlier in the year, Apple acquired Laserlike, an ML-based startup followed by an Italian startup Stamplay. Later on, it purchased Intel’s modem business and integrated it with its own team.

Our Take

The iPhone has lagged behind its competitors in terms of smartphone imaging over the last few years. However, with the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple has finally managed to rival other flagship Android smartphones in this department. With camera sensors and other hardware somewhat reaching their limit, it makes sense for Apple to look at alternative and innovative ways to improve the imaging performance of iPhones.